Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The Nigerian Army has buried a colonel and four soldiers killed in a face-off with Boko Haram insurgents on a highway in Borno State.
Colonel Kenneth Elemele, Lance Corporals Dimos Daniel, Oguntuase Ayo, Ajijola Sunday and Private (PTE) Akinola Ayoola were buried at the Nigerian Army Cemetery, 7 Division Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri Friday morning in what the Acting Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen Olusegun Adeniyi described as sad but “heroic.”
“The fallen officer and soldiers did not die in vain, they died for Nigeria. Nigerian Army is proud of them. You have a reason to raise your heads up, you have a stake in Nigeria and in the Northeast. The men are heroes,” Adeniyi.
He also vowed that the troops in the theatre of operation will not be deterred by the killing of their colleagues, adding that they will not sleep. “We will not sleep or rest. We will give nolmacy to the northeast and Nigeria,” he said. Adeniyi has been appointed as the substantive Theatre Commander to take over from the outgoing commander, Maj Gen Benson Akinroluyo but he is yet to take over officially as the seventh commander of the operation.
Spokesman, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col Ado Isa said Col Elemele soldiers were ambushed said Col Elemele and the four soldiers were ambushed along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway on 17th July by Boko Haram. He said the insurgents opened fire on the officer and soldiers, leading to exchange of fire.
He explained that the other soldier victims have been buried the day after the incident accorsing to the Islamic rites. He said the burial of the officer and soldiers was delayed to allow army authority to get across to the families and next of kins of the deceased personnel.
“We are here to show love, regard, respect for the departed colleagues. It is part of the military tradition,” he explained. The burial rite was conducted by the Deputy Director Chaplain Services, 7 Division (Protestant), Maj (Rev) A Musa.